It’s one thing to say, “OBS trucks are hot,” it’s another to look at the numbers. The values of these cool old-style Chevy trucks are, in fact, increasing. They’re riding a wave of cool ’80s and ’90s nostalgia, as those of us of a certain age want the truck we remember our moms or dads proudly driving. Today any 1998 to 1998 C/K Chevy OBS pickup is worth a whopping 15% more than last year.
Values are soaring for OBS and square-bodied Chevys
The numbers are out there: Super-hip OBS from the ’80s and ’90s and square-bodied Chevy trucks, the C/K lineup, have seen their price increase a staggering 14.65% in the past year, according to CarGurus. CarGurus tracks used car sales, and while almost all vehicles lose value year over year, C/K OBS trucks or Chevy 1500 trucks have seen incredible increases in value, while all Other trucks lose value.
In Bring a Trailer, which tracks the prices of the cars and trucks it sells, its data for Chevy OBS trucks (and early Silverados) from 1998 to 2002 shows a steady price increase since 2020. CarGurus’ numbers also mostly follow the price chart. Classic.com moving average. In 1998, square-bodied Chevys sold for around $14,300 on average, while today they average $20,000 on Classic.com.
Which year of OBS truck is the best?
When it comes to value enhancement, the market says the 1996 C/K 1500 pickup is the best. The 1996 versions saw a 46.39% price increase over the last two years, according to CarGurus. The second most popular year is the 1997 version, which increased in value by 31.01% over the same period, followed by the 1991 versions. There really isn’t much of a difference to the base OBS trucks from those years, but Chevy made several editions specials that can increase the value of a year. From 1991 to 1993, for example, Chevy made the 454 SS version, which had a giant V8, and in 1993 it made the black Pace Truck replicas.
While it’s hard to tell anyone that a 35-year-old truck is a good investment, sporty two-door V8 versions seem to command the highest prices, according to the three sites mentioned above. Four doors, which were rare, and diesels seem to be on the lower end of the spectrum. OBS two-door pickups with V8 engines and a short bed are simply more fun to drive than giant pickup trucks or stinky, loud diesels.
Where can you buy a square body or OBS Chevy?
Several sites have listings for square body and OBS Chevys. Auction site Bring a Trailer has a few for sale now, as do Cars and Bids and Classic.com. However, Chevy made millions of these trucks, and chances are there are a few hiding out in the local classifieds, or maybe in a barn or two. As with most classics, it’s important to find one that hasn’t been banged up, isn’t rusty, and has low mileage.
Options like fancy cassettes, velor seats, and power windows add to the value of these ultra-modern trucks, too.
What is an OBS truck?
OBS is an acronym that, depending on who you talk to, can stand for Old Body Style or Original Body Style, truck. Chevy considered them the GMT400 generation, but, basically, it means square-bodied Chevy trucks from 1988 to 1998. Purists even say Double-O BS, or OOBS, for “old body style,” denoting the first boxy body. Chevy trucks built between 1970 and 1987.
These trucks predate the Silverado name. Instead, the C version indicated two-wheel drive, while the K versions had four-wheel drive. They came with a V6, a Vortec V8, or a diesel, and in two-door, extra cab with a third door, or four-door styles, as well as work trucks with jumbo long beds. Chevy pioneered the Z71 off-road package on these trucks, and to many, the factory lift on that suspension looks better. Others, however, prefer the street rod styling of standard trucks that came lower with dealer-added suspension options.